March 2017
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Making Fondant for Winter Feeding

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Here is a link to a video that provides the recipe and shows how to make fondant for winter feeding.

For a printer friendly text file click here.

Utensils Needed

Heavy sauce pan with lid
Extra Pot
Stirring Spoon
Candy thermometer
Electric mixer
Disposable molds (foil lined paper plates work well)

Ingredients

4 lb bag of sugar
8 cups sugar (4# bag)
2 cups water
½ teaspoon white vinegar

5 lb bag of sugar
10 cups sugar (5# bag)
2-1/2 cups water
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon white vinegar

(Doubled recipe works making about 6 each 9" plates 1/2" deep)

Procedure

1. Pour all ingredients into sauce pan and bring to boil stirring constantly
2. Cover and boil 5 minutes
3. Insert candy thermometer and boil until temperature reaches 234°
4. Remove from heat and cool to 200° (putting pot into sink full of water will speed this up!)
5. Whip with electric mixer until mixture begins to turn white with air bubbles throughout (3-4 minutes on the timer)
6. Pour into molds and allow to cool undisturbed
7. Store in a dry location (freezer is a good place)


 

 

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February Meetings
and Events

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February 4th
Queen Rearing

 

February 21st
Monthly Meeting

 

 

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March Meetings
and Events

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March 4th
Horticultural Extravaganza
Information Table

 

March 16th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Session 1)

 

March 21st
Monthly Meeting

 

March 23rd
Beginning Beekeeping
(Session 2)

 

March 30th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Session 3)

 

 

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April Meetings
and Events

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

April 6th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Session 4)

 

 

 

Follow the "Upcoming Events" or "Latest News" link under the Main Menu for more information.

 

 

 

NewBees Corner

 

Information listed here is for the new beekeepers looking for new information and guidance on beekeeping and beekeeping chores:

 

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Last week I helped a club member find and remove the queen in a colony that had swarm cells, I worked on the James River and saw an Osprey investigating a nest site, fruit trees were budding and many ornamentals are in bloom, in my home yard I inspected a colony in a 10 frame deep with 8 frames of brood.... This weekend I'm sitting by the wood stove wondering what will survive and if they have the hindsight to ponder "WHAT WAS I THINKING?" There is no way to stop the weather, we can only look ahead and try and do what we can. In Florida an orchard owner may turn on the sprinklers to keep the buds from freezing or maybe light smudge pots, my trees are on their own. I heard of a swarm being caught last week, will that queen cell survive, will the queen get an opportunity for a mating flight, will there be drones to mate with? It is way early in the year and 35 or more days before last frost is forecast for our area. That hive will be doctored up in the weeks ahead when success or failure can be determined. This appears to be a year when those colonies that are a bit slower may win the race. Keep an eye on the forecast and be cautious in your hive manipulations, don't do too much too early! Some colonies may suffer chilled brood as they have to cluster and abandon edges of the brood nest. You'll get to see how hygienic your colonies are. Make sure they have stores close as there are still night time temps in the 30's. The forecast for the next 15 days has 13 days with a chance of rain. If there are drones will they fly, will that queen get a chance to fly? Be cautious when considering making splits. Hang in there, Spring is coming even though you may think it is here already!

 

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So winter is coming and we have these roller coaster days of warm and cold temperatures to deal with. Average temperature for this time of year is 61°, believe it or not! Our coldest days come in January and February. Night time temps are in the mid 40's so the bees are clustering at night and active in the day. But what do they have to feed on? Probably and most unfortunately they are eating up all their winter stores! You need to feed in winter but winter feeding is different. Best to feed liquid on the warm days, 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) and then have sugar feed on for the colder days. You can put sugar feed on and then feed liquid when the weatherman calls for a warm spell. Make your liquid feed up fresh or keep it warm, bees will take to 70° syrup better than 50° syrup. Take the liquid off once the temperature drops again as the bees might not take it and a leaking container would be the end of the colony.

Did you know an inner cover has two sides? A shallow summer side that maintains bee space and a deeper winter side that allows for fondant or sugar candy to be placed on the top bars available to the cluster. Here are some links to follow for making winter feed for your colonies. This first method requires cooking and I have used it with great success. To use it, follow this link. Something I've read is that the vinegar is essential to add in the heating process as it aids in breaking down the cane sugar into the sugars that are in honey, fructose and glucose as well as raising the acidity level closer to natural honey.

A second method requires no cooking but letting the moisture evaporate out leaving a solid block. Here are links to two similar methods. I have not used these recipes as yet but have heard some have used them successfully. To use them follow this link for 1 or this link for 2. There is also information on the number 2 site for using the "Mountain Camp" method of feeding dry sugar. I prefer to make my feed in advance and then apply it to the hive but that's beekeeping, each of us has our own preference.

 

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So you were able to harvest some honey but now what do you do with those frames? There are three things that can be done. 1-you could just leave the frames as they are and store them in a freezer or refrigerator. Not very practical for most folks and storing them wet in the garage or house is an invitation to disaster, don't do it! 2-you can let the bees dry them out outside of the hive. This works very well but you must take precautions to prevent a robbing frenzy in your apiary. Put the frames some distance from the hives, the farther the better, and additionally have some objects between, like trees or a building. This also pertains to letting the bees clean up your extracting equipment. There will be some damage to the comb but nothing too drastic. 3-lastly you can put the frames back into the hive they were harvested from or on another colony that may need the stores. If you just want the bees to dry the frames and move the residual honey down into the colony you can place the frames in a super above the inner cover. To keep the bees from moving up add a spacer or an empty super between the inner cover and the frames. Adding the frames back into or on top of a colony may also create a robbing situation if there are any gaps, cracks or openings. Take precautions!

Once dry these frames are a valuable resource and you HAVE to protect them until freezing weather arrives and wax moth activity ceases for the year. There are some choices that can be made here as well. Hanging under a eave allowing plenty of air and light can usually prevent wax moth damage if the combs never held brood or pollen. Follow this link to see some examples. Another way is to protect your frames with Para Dichlorobenzene, Moth crystals. Supers are stacked and sealed with a spacer at the top. Place the moth crystals on a paper plate on top in the space as the fumes will go down. Follow this link to read an article about wax moths and their control. Lastly combs can be protected with a natural microbial bacteria Bacillus thuringenisis (Certan®). It was once available for sale by bee supply companies but is no longer manufactured in the US but is available from Canada. Some beeks use alternative products that contain the same bacteria but are sold under a different name for the similar purpose of larva control. Here is a link to a video about the use of Certan.

 

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